Continuing our ongoing feature highlighting the people behind the industry’s best sites and zines, today we are excited to unveil a new interview with Gun Shy Assassin founder Chris Harris. Chris has a long history in journalism, both in music and out, and has been doing a number of interesting things with his site in recent months. Through editorialized reporting, which often leaves us laughing at our desks, Harris and his team have carved a unique niche in the heavy music world that continues to propel them to further up the reporting hierarchy. You can learn about the man behind GSA, as well as the advice he has for those hoping to make it in metal, below.
H: For those unaware, please state your name, the site you work for, and your role at said site:
C: My name is Chris Harris, and I am the founder and CEO of GunShyAssassin.com, a three-year-old metal site named after a line in a Pig Destroyer song; bonus points if you know the tune.
H: You have worked in music journalism for a number of years. What first inspired you to enter this career field?
C: I’d say I’m a journalist first, a music journalist second – only because the depth of my experience is not limited to one field of journalism alone. I have written for a number of national publications and organizations, doing hard-hittin investigative pieces and fluff stories on pop stars. My love of music first drew me in, and it is now my passion for it that keeps trying to push me back out.
H: They say the first album a person falls in love with represents the genre they will follow later in life. What was the first album you truly connected with?
C: "They" don’t know shit. Because Jane’s Addiction’s “Nothing’s Shocking” led to my liking Swedish black metal.
H: There are an ever-growing number of metal websites in existence that offers news comparable to GSA. What is it about your content that sets GSA apart from the rest?
C: Honesty. At the end of the day, we’re one of the only metal sites that’ll actually call it like it is, without of fear of reprisal. We’ll desescrate sacred cows, we’ll pick apart bands people hail as important, and we deliver honest commentary from some of metal’s heaviest thinkers, including Early Graves frontman John Strachan, Jesse Leach of Killswitch Engage, Revocation’s Dave Davidson, Mark Hunter of Chimaira, Brian Fair of Shadows Fall, and Tim Williams, frontman for Vision of Disorder. With our guest column series, we’ve become something of a hotbed for metal musicians who aspire to write.
H: You have featured a number of indie/unsigned bands on GSA. What are your sources for music discovery?
C: Of course. Most contact us, but we run a weekly feature on unsigned bands who just happen to be readers, too. Sometimes, we come across gems in the rough, But that’s only sometimes.
H: What advice would you offer to bands and artists hoping to appear on GSA in the future?
C: Be smart and play your ass off.
H: When it comes to receiving music for review and feature consideration, which services do you prefer and why?
C: Haulix is pretty solid.
H: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
C: The rampant favoritism that seems to pervade.
H: Before we let you go, can you tell us a bit about what GSA has planned for the remainder of 2013?
C: More guest columns, more sarcastic criticism, more contests, more reviews, more interviews, and more exclusives. Also, we’ll have more updates from Chris Adler of Lamb of God, the focus of a casual series of interviews you’ll find only on GSA.